Nine students from the University of Alaska Fairbanks went to New York City last week for the model United Nations, representing the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.
The week-long conference compiled 5,000 students from all over the world to represent different countries, meet in committees, vote on topics to address, draft working papers (resolutions in progress) with other nations concerning those topics, and vote which resolutions to put into effect.
Eight representatives or delegates from UAF were split evenly into four different committee’s each discussing a unique topic from disarmament to global climate change and sustainable development. Delegates attended 2-3 committee meetings a day lasting 2-3 hours each.
Typical Committee meeting:
- The meeting would start off with the chair (the 3-person panel seated on stage over seeing the meeting) establishing a few ground rules and providing important information for the session’s tasks.
- The chair would take role by calling out each country individually, with the country raising their placard (large piece of paper with a country’s name on it) and stating that they were ‘present’ or ‘present in voting.’ The difference between the two is you have to vote if you say ‘present in voting’ but you have the option of abstaining from a vote if you simply say, ‘present.’
- The chair would then go through the speaker’s list, giving countries who signed up for the speaker’s list 90 seconds to speak about the topics at hand and how their country views them and how they want to approach the issue. A country signed up for the speaker’s list by raising their placard when the chair asked who was interested in speaking on the first day of committee meetings. From the first day countries who wanted to be added to the speakers list again sent up a note to the chair through pages. Delegates from various countries volunteered as pages to pass notes among countries and the chair.
- After half a dozen or so countries spoke the chair would entertain motions. A delegate would raise their placard, the chair would call on them, and the delegate would propose their motion. After a few motions were entertained, the chair would move to voting on them. Typically, a delegate would purpose suspension of the meeting for a certain length of time, the majority of delegates would raise their placard and pass the motion and the committee would go into informal session or caucus. During this time countries would draft working papers, negotiate with other countries, attempt to gain sponsors and signatories, and merge working papers before drafting a final resolution and voting upon the resolutions on the final day of committee meetings. At the end of caucus, the chair would start going through the speakers list again, and the process would repeat itself.
Want to be apart of model UN next year at UAF?
Then attend the next Model United Nations Alliance meeting.
Learn more about the model UN:
To find out more about the model UN conference in New York City visit:
Video shown at opening ceremonies for the 2013 New York Conference:
Model UN YouTube channel:
National Model U.N. Facebook page: